Texas resident Rebecca Clark was gored by a bison while hiking the Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway, a Texas park famous for its bison herds. Moments before the attack, Clark recorded a video of the bison grazing beside the trail as she walked by.
“There you go, keep going. I don’t want to deal with them. I just want to go by; Come on, keep going,” Clark says in the TikTok video. “I just want to get by; Okay, thank you; I appreciate it. I didn’t want to go through the bushes again.”
Moments after passing the three bison, one turns toward her, snarls, and charges.
In the video, Clark can be heard shouting expletives as the camera flies into the thick mesquite brush.
Clark lay bleeding with no cellphone service. Luckily, she was able to send out a text message to friends who sent help from miles away. After 50 minutes, she was lifted out by helicopter and flown to the hospital.
Bison are one of the largest land animals and are responsible for a handful of attacks each year. This past summer, three people were injured by bison while visiting Yellowstone National Park — a 25-year-old woman, a 34-year-old man, and a 71-year-old woman.
Jared Beaver, a wildlife management specialist and assistant professor in Montana State University’s Department of Animal and Range Sciences, attributes the uptick in bison attacks to uneducated visitors and a recent swell in the bison population.
“They look so calm and so tame,” Beaver says to The Washington Post. “You get people that aren’t quite familiar with the rules and that these animals are still very wild, dangerous animals.”
The Texas Parks and Wildlife agency advises visitors to use the “Rule of Thumb” to check whether there is enough distance between themselves and the bison. “Stretch your arm out away from your face and give bison a thumbs up!” the agency states on its site. “Now close one eye. Can you cover the bison with your thumb? If not, you’re too close!”
Fortunately, Clark is on the “road to recovery” despite the bison ripping a hole in her back, thanks to the medical staff of United Regional Wichita Falls.
Clark writes in the caption of her video that she is “posting to support safety while enjoying Texas State Parks.” Since posting on October 11, the video has received over 2 million views.
Despite her injuries, Clark looks forward to hiking in the Texas wilderness once again. Hopefully, she has learned to keep a safe distance from wild animals and follow the rule of thumb.